I’ve been thinking over the last few days about what to expect from the Lakers tonight. And here is what I think:
1. Kobe will shoot the ball 30+ times. Whether or not he is still capable of single-handily winning a game remains to be seen. I do not doubt for a second that he still has the will to try. Can his body keep up with his mind and determination? We will see. Kobe will, at the very least, start out assertive. Let’s hope there is still fight in the other Lakers. If not, even if the Lakers win tonight the season will soon be over.
2. Bench changes. I expect to see Luke Walton playing some minutes tonight. Luke is not flashy, he doesn’t score much, but Phil trusts Luke to move the ball on offense and the Laker offense has been rather stagnant in the first two games of the series. Will Phil start Luke? I doubt it. Phil is not that bold. I would expect him to start Lamar and play all three bigs at the same time. Let’s hope the Laker length can disrupt the Dallas offense and create 2nd chance opportunities for the team while on offense.
Finally, this may be Kobe’s last stand.
Think about it for a moment. If he is unable to resuscitate this Laker run, with the pending NBA lockout on the horizon, we may not see Kobe and this version of the Lakers receive an opportunity to make a run for another title.
We certainly will not see the same Kobe. If the NBA loses the 2011-2012 season, Kobe will not play a NBA game until he is 34. 36 in NBA years. He would no longer be considered in his prime and in the twilight of his magnificent career.
Phil will be gone. Pau will be 32, and 32 for a big man is the start of the downside of his career. While Pau does not depend upon brute force like Shaq, he does depend upon quick footwork and precise moves to create space and get to the basket. He’s not going to move as well two years from now and who knows, this playoff season may be the first sign of the eroding of his talents.
What I am saying is that this could very well be the Lakers last hurrah. And if Kobe is looking to get his 6th title, he may have to do it by carrying 50% of the load.
About the Author
Written by Donovan Williams
32 year-old sports fan who has the audacity to think that he could be good at this sports writing thing. I'll be honest. I'll be snarky. I'll be sarcastic. Maybe not in that order. It is my goal to ensure that my opinions will generate a response from you, dear reader. Good, bad or indifferent, I welcome your replies.